Over the last two and a half years it's become clearer that despite best efforts there has been a bottleneck in the European Union's ability to leverage their influence in development of new methodologies of increasing technology consumption or investment in EU cloud.
The clue to the problem lies very much in the lack of credible underlying support that surrounds the European Commissions cloud strategy that emerged in September 2012 that I've talked about here before. Their stated aims to increase the spread and adoption of Cloud Computing in EU states were slated to generate about €900bn of generated revenue and a speculative figure of an additional increase in headcount in IT related services by 3.8 million new hires. I've read the report in detail and it still makes no sense and just seems to be a finger in the wind (like many analyst reports we all read daily) as to them "taking the temperature of the industry as a whole."
Maybe it was to buy more time until their slated 2014 time window when the assumption is that the common EU data protection regulations will be outlined. These will replace sovereign data protection acts such as that we take for granted in the UK and to understand the thinking of how that impacts on Cloud.
If we examine how that impacts, say on a company like Amazon, purely as an example, they currently have to implement working practices for AWS in the EU where applicable in contract terms for sovereign customers. These practices have to follow to the letter the data protection acts in France, Germany, Ireland, the UK etc. All those actual data protection acts can be see to be following a skeleton or outline of actual data protection directives issued by the EU but each with their own specific tailored requirements around statute in applicable sovereign territories. So currently it's hard work for any provider of services to offer a blanket one size fits all across the EU, and the cost of sales and architecture is therefore increased as is cost of adoption for consumption of elastic services generically across multiple territories.
So the hope is we can look forward to 2014 expecting a unified approach to data protection and therefore investment and adoption of catalogue cloud services as an industry. There is no denying that if you have that territorial harmonisation of regulation across the EU it will make it easier for corporations and organisations to build compliance frameworks but also if we were to turn that on it's head it will create a new raft of operational requirements.
Each member state will have to take on board their individual responsibilities for the legal statute required to make it work and that means additional challenges in Sweden, Germany, Spain and especially France. The workload alone on the part of data controllers facing new responsibilities are going to dramatically increase as well as the definition and creation of procedures and controls. The need to understand how to fit within a new skeleton regulation framework for the management of data privacy then needs to also fold in the needs to handle reporting. We now move to a theoretical world post 2014 where an organisation needs to file compulsory data breach notifications immediately at identification of a data loss or hack.
This all impacts on the lifecycle of cloud services and repudiation of data within contractual periods across multiple territories and potentially multiple providers in open hybrid cloud. This is one of the great facets of ManageIQ capabilities to tag and to "patrol" your complete Cloud fabric in order for you to be able to conform out the box today with responsibilities as a data controller or processor. CloudForms handles Cloud. It doesn't matter whether thats defined as a public cloud sitting on a provider presence or a private cloud sat in your datacentre. If you're serious about Cloud you need to have CloudForms in your corner.
An example of this, if for example you have a private cloud the new EU guidance adjudges you to be the processor responsible for data and in most EU states the controller as well and it becomes entirely your position of authority to control the access and protection to that data.
When you start moving those workloads and data upstream to a supplier such as a Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider partner the guidance is clear. The onus is on you the individual to examine at contract and actual practice level that your provider has both the security in place to protect you, but that isn't enough. You need to be able to do more than just assume a contract keeps you safe without taking on the need for expensive audit procedures and a huge raft of risk registers and rolling pentests / conformance exercises with an often unwilling third party provider who assumes you were happy at the SLA level.
CloudForms combined with ManageIQ give you a single pane capability and the context tagging and reporting doesn't actually care where your instance is running, be it on a raft of providers on ESX or KVM regardless of location, it just reports and keeps your cloud in line with your controls. It actually draws you in line with the EU regulations ahead of time.
So when the EU regulatory guidance actually becomes more than lipstick on a pig you can look smugly and realise that having implemented CloudForms and MiQ you were ahead of the game, and your business not impacted either by additional regulatory need and complex guidance having a negative impact on your growth.
Expect to read more about CloudForms in the coming weeks and months, for more information engage with your local Red Hat country representative.